When I got back to the bungalow, I parked in the garage and cleaned up the front of the car as best I could, hoping I’d got all Olly’s blood off. Then I hurried indoors, averting my eyes from a rat I saw skulking in the bushes.
I couldn’t do anything that night due to my feelings of utter despair at having robbed Olly of his life. When daylight came, I found myself strangely drawn to the scene of the accident the night before, so I put on a headscarf and dark glasses, Jackie Kennedy style, and went there on foot, with the Harvesting Stone in my pocket. It was essential to keep it on me at all times. It contained the Life-force of three people and that made it the most precious thing on the planet.
There were dark stains on the pavement with police tape cordoning them off from pedestrians. I loitered around, trying to come to terms with what I’d done.
A woman emerged from the nearest house and walked down the drive. She saw me looking at the stains.
“It was a hit-and-run, love,” she said, in a Northern accent. “Some bastard knocked down a little boy and drove off. Lovely little lad who lives round the corner. Oliver Chadwick. Made a right mess of him, and didn’t even call an ambulance.”
“That’s awful,” I said. “How could anyone do a thing like that?”
“I don’t know. I’ll never understand it. Anyway, at least he survived.”
“What? You mean he wasn’t killed?”
“That’s right. The car made a terrible mess of him but he wasn’t dead. I could tell as soon as I saw him lying there. I called an ambulance right away.”
“So he’s in hospital?”
“Yes, and he’ll be there for a long time, I imagine, with the injuries he’s got. I just hope he pulls through.”
Even though this news meant my Harvesting Stone only contained the life energy of two people, not three, and I now had to start all over again with killing my third victim, I also hoped he pulled through.
“I wonder where they took him.”
“Probably to the Royal Free Hospital, that’s the nearest one with an Accident and Emergency department. Anyway, must go now. I can’t stand here chatting all day.”
She headed off in the direction of the shops. As soon as she was gone, I made a call from a payphone to the Royal Free Hospital.
“There was a young boy called Olly taken into casualty last night,” I said. “I mean, Oliver Chadwick. He was the victim of a hit-and-run incident. I’d like to know how he’s doing.”
“I can’t tell you that, I’m afraid. I can’t disclose that information over the telephone.”
“Can you tell me what ward he’s on?”
“Are you a relative?”
“Yes, I’m his older sister.”
“He’s on Ward nine.”
I set off for the Royal Free Hospital on the tube. I had to see how Olly was doing. On the way I heard a whispering in my ear.
“You know what you could do while you’re there? You could finish him off. It’d be easy. You could do it the same way you did for Dorothy and Victor. Then you’d be able to resurrect Dave and your life would be happy again.”
It was the voice of Moloch. I ignored it.
As soon as I entered the foyer, the smell of cleaning agents, medicines, sickness, and death, assaulted my nostrils reminding me of Olly’s plight. I put it to the back of my mind and used the antiseptic hand-wash near the door to clean my hands, before following the signs to ward nine.
The doors to the ward were locked. I pressed a buzzer, heard a click, pushed open one of the doors and went inside. All was deathly quiet as I proceeded along the corridor to the nurse station.
On my way, I passed a small waiting room. There was a woman asleep on a chair. I couldn’t help but wonder if it was Olly’s mum. Possibly she’d been at his bedside all night, and had to crash out. His Dad was probably too ill to be there, both from his cancer and from the fall he’d taken when Olly had pushed him out of the way of my car.
I got to the nurse station. There was one nurse working there with her head down over some papers.
“Excuse me,” I said. “I’m looking for Oliver Chadwick.”
“He’s down the corridor in room five,” she said, without looking up.
I entered his room and found him asleep in bed, with wires snaking from various parts of his body to a series of monitors at his side. Electronic displays flickered and bleeped at regular intervals.
His face was a mess, but at least he looked peaceful.
I regretted ever having come into contact with him.
Then I was seized by a desire to take the pillow from under his head, press it over his little face, and finish him off.
There was a whispering in my ear.
“Now’s your chance, there’s no-one around. You can do it. Just use the pillow.”
My arms moved without any volition on my part. I was like a robot. I grabbed the pillow and began to tug it free of the weight of his head. The movement disturbed him, and he opened his eyes. They widened in terror.
I’d seen that look on his face once before, when I’d driven directly at him in the car.
I had to hide that terrified face from my sight, cover it up with the pillow.
The monitors bleeped more frequently. The flickering graphs began to peak and trough.
“Kali,” he whispered.
It brought me to my senses. I let go of the pillow.
Footsteps sounded along the corridor. The bleeping of the monitor must have alerted someone. I left his room. The nurse and the woman who I’d presumed to be Olly’s mother were heading towards me looking grim. I pushed past them to the exit.
Behind me they rushed into Olly’s room, and as they did so, I heard the monitors flat-lining.
It was in the local newspaper the following day that the boy involved in the hit-and-run incident had died in his hospital bed.
Was it the shock of seeing the driver of the car which had so badly injured him, that killed Olly?
How long it would be before his mother worked out that his final visitor had been the person responsible for his death?
Those sorts of thoughts could drive a person mad. I couldn’t afford to dwell on them, and besides, I had work to do.
I grabbed my Ankh (the cross I’d made from a wire coat-hanger) and Shen (the loop I’d fashioned from a piece of clothesline) then opened the door to the cellar. I hesitated at the top of the stairs. The thought of what was waiting for me at the bottom of them filled me with apprehension. For a moment, I couldn’t bring myself to go down them.
But I had to. I’d come this far and I couldn’t afford to blow it. I’d killed three people. That couldn’t be for nothing.
I turned on the light and slowly descended.
It was icy cold down there
I went to the table where Dave was lying, as if resting in state, holding my breath, due to the rank smell he was giving off.
I placed my Ankh on the floor with the Shen around it, and put the Harvesting Stone on Dave’s chest. It now contained the life force of all three of my victims – Dorothy, Victor and Olly. I tried not to think about any of them. But most of all, I tried not to think about Olly.
With the Harvesting Stone in place, I stood within the Shen and recited the ancient Egyptian words needed to raise Dave from the dead.
I pictured him breathing again. I knew his face would be a mashed up rotting mess when I resurrected him, but as far as I was concerned, that wasn’t my problem. My job was to raise him from the dead. After that, anything else that was wrong with him was for the medics to sort out.
When I’d cast my spell, I waited for something to happen, a movement, or cry from him, perhaps. But there was nothing.
So this was the final horror.
Dave wasn’t going to be resurrected.
I was disappointed and felt the crushing weight of guilt on my shoulders. I’d killed three people in vain. Four counting Dave himself.
I went upstairs and ordered a lightweight coffin. I’d have to leave Victor’s house pretty soon and another refuge. But before I did, I was going to do the very least I could for Dave – put him in a coffin so he could have a bit of dignity in death.
When it arrived I somehow got him into it and screwed on the lid with the brass wingnuts that were stationed at regular intervals around the edge. When it was on good and tight I turned to leave, planning to go on the run as soon as I could get some things together.
That’s when I heard a loud knocking. My heart jumped, but then I realised that it wasn’t coming from the coffin. It was coming from upstairs. Someone was at the door.
I remembered that Moloch hadn’t appeared immediately after I’d summoned him. He’d waited for a while, and when he had appeared it’d been when I’d least expected him to.
Could something similar be happening with Dave Carrion? Could he be standing outside, knocking at the door?
I hurried up the steps. There was another loud knock on the door. I rushed up to it and stopped. I hardly dared see what was on the other side. But I had to. I turned the handle and pulled the door slowly open.
I didn’t know what to expect.
I shouldn’t have been surprised when I opened it fully, but I was.
So much so that my heart jumped into my mouth and I was, for a moment, paralysed with fear.
I climbed back into the car and drove off as quickly as I could, struggling to control my feelings of guilt.
Raising Dave is © Copyright 2017 by Jack Strange. Permission to publish this story has been granted by the author.
Next – Friday, the conclusion. Chapters 15 & 16. Don’t miss it!
The latest from Jack Strange
THE STORY SO FAR…
In Celebrity Chef Zombie Apocalypse, Professor Ted Forsyth made an amazing breakthrough. He created the ‘Lazarus Engine’ which could bring the dead back to life. Forsyth and his nephew Robert Turner tested the machine on a dead cat called Henderson, and on a dead celebrity chef called Floyd Rampant.
The Lazarus Engine brought Henderson and Rampant back to life but also turned them into sex-crazed flesh-eating zombies.
Rampant killed and ate the hapless inventor and his nephew, and then embarked on a crusade to conquer the world by making an army of undead celebrity chefs to do his bidding.
His plan was thwarted by Tarquin Camemblert, the British Prime Minister.
Camemblert lured Rampant and his zombie army to the town of Huddersfield, West Yorkshire and bombed the town out of existence.
The only zombies who survived were Rampant, his two lieutenants, and Henderson, the zombie cat.
Wally Pratt, a distant relative of Professor Forsyth, inherited his house, and the Lazarus Engine with it. Pratt was a member of an extreme right-wing political party called NS18.
In order to earn kudos in the party, Pratt made a creature from recycled body parts which looked like Margaret Thatcher. He brought it to life using the Lazarus Engine, and the former great leader was reborn.
He had created Thatchenstein.
Now read on….
Thatchenstein, the third book in this unique horror comedy series by Jack Strange for KGHH Publishing, is the best yet and ends with a powerful climax.
Also coming soon from Mr. Strange – NOIRVELLAS: MANCHESTER VICE from Coffin Hop Press
Follow Jack Strange on Twitter @jackstrange11.